Recently, NASA researchers unveiled the deep structure of the Tarantula star region. The discovery was only possible with NASA’s newest telescope James Webb. Operational since July, this space telescope is the newest and most powerful ever built. Astronomers are convinced that it announces a new era of discovery.
The new observation device is based on infrared spectrum wavelengths to capture the light of the stars, stretched because of the immensity of the universe. The imager was used to understand the chemical composition and architecture of the misty star. Unsurprisingly, the observations revealed a structure never encountered before.
The observed cosmic environment is also known as the “30 Doradus”. It is located 161,000 light years from Earth. On the strength of their discoveries, the researchers intend to continue their cosmic exploration to better understand the creation of the universe.
The strange architecture of the Tarantula Nebula
The region observed by James Webb owes its name to its dusty filaments which closely resemble the legs of a hairy spider. The main objective of the telescope is the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam)capable of discerning distant celestial bodies that absorb and emit infrared radiation.
The device has thus made it possible to bring to light an incalculable number of stars, galaxies and complex structures previously unknown to researchers. Observations have also shown that the cavity in the center of 30 Doradus is due to rather special radiation. These cosmic radiations are then transported by the stellar winds emanating from a cluster of massive young starswhich appear as pale blue dots on the imagery.
James Webb also made it possible to discover a young star getting rid of a cloud of dust around it. Already known to scientists. The star was considered to be at a more advanced stage of life.
The composition of 30 Doradus recalls that of cosmic noon
The immediate surroundings of the Tarantula Nebula have also been observed using the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI). The device relies on longer infrared wavelengths to identify dust grains which pick up or emit shorter wavelengths.
This approach made it possible to distinguish colder zones, revealing light spots never seen before. Observations reveal that the chemical composition of said region is similar to cosmic noona post-bigbang period when star formation was at its peak.